Yesha Council, representing the Jewish settler
movement, and the rightwing Israel Sheli (My I srael) movement, ran their first workshop
this week in Jerusalem, teaching participants how to rewrite and revise some of the most
hotly disputed pages of the online reference site.
"We don't want to change Wikipedia or turn it into a propaganda arm," says
Naftali Bennett, director of the Yesha Council. "We just want to show the other side.
People think that Israelis are mean, evil people who only want to hurt Arabs all
And on Wikipedia, they believe that there is much work
Take the page on Israel, for a start: "The map of Israel is portrayed without the
Golan heights or Judea and Samaria," said Bennett, referring to the annexed Syrian
territory and the West Bank area occupied by Israel in 1967.
Another point of contention is the reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a
status that is constantly altered on Wikipedia.
In 2008, members of the hawkish pro-Israel watchdog
Camera who secretly planned to edit Wikipedia were banned from the site by
Meanwhile, Yesha is building an information taskforce to engage with new media, by
posting to sites such as Facebook and YouTube, and claims to have 12,000 active members,
with up to 100 more signing up each month. "It turns out there is quite a thirst for
this activity," says Bennett. "The Israeli public is frustrated with the way it
is portrayed abroad."
The organisiers of the Wikipedia courses, are already planning a competition to find the
"Best Zionist editor", with a prize of a hot-air balloon trip over Israel.